All you need to know about Hardik Patel, the man behind the Patel OBC quota protest in Gujarat

Hardik Patel, the young man behind the ‘Maha Kranti’ rally that took place in Ahmedabad on Tuesday is all of 22 years. The agitation on Tuesday turned violent with large groups of Patel community youths going around on various roads of the city on their two-wheelers, wielding sticks to enforce a bandh. Ahmedabad police had to resort to tear-gas shells to tackle the situation.

Hardik Patel

In Vadaj area of Ahmedabad, when groups of Patel community members on scooters and bikes tried to enforce the bandh, local residents of the Dalit community resisted, which resulted in clashes and stone-pelting between the two communities, police said.

The following points throw more light about the man who is spearheading the Patel agitation in Gujarat.

1) Merely 22 years old, Hardik Patel hails from Viramgam town in Ahmedabad district. Hardik, is a B.Com graduate from Sahjanand college in Ahmedabad. He is said to have scored less than 50% marks while graduating. After graduation, Hardik used to run his small family business of supplying water to commercial establishments.

2) Hardik was a member of Sardar Patel Group (SPG), a Patidar youth group. He was also reportedly the President of SPG’s Viramgam unit. After being ousted from the group, Hardik became the convenor of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS). PAAS is only a month old, but has taken over Ahmedabad today. After PAAS successfully orchestrated a rally in Surat in July, Lalji Patel, leader of SPG, announced that it shared a common purpose with PAAS. According to PTI, it was Lalji Patel who helped Hardik organise the protest in Ahmedabad on Monday.

3) Hardik believes that the Patidar community is losing out in the developmental race in the country due to the reservation quota. He has demanded for an OBC quota for Patels so that they get an equal chance to compete. PAAS attempts to prove that despite the notion that Patels are prosperous, there are farmers from the community who are committing suicide in the villages of Gujarat. “We, Patels wish to be included in reserved category to fulfil the dream of Modi saheb of ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas’,” Hardik said on Tuesday.

4) Hardik’s father is a BJP worker from Viramgam. While Hardik claims to be apolitical, Congress and BJP both allege Hardik to be of the opposite parties. After his picture with a Congress MLA Tejshree Patel surfaced, Hardik released his pictures alongside BJP leader Purshottam Rupala and Minister of State for Home, Gujarat, Rajnikant Patel. His video with VHP President Pravin Togadia has also been doing the rounds.

5) The rally organised by Hardik Patel in Surat in July saw participation of around 4.5 lakh people. Massive public rallies were also organised in places like Viramgam, Himmatnagar, Gandhinagar, Rajkot and Vadodara under the leadership of Hardik.

Also Read – Patel OBC quota protest: Campaign leader Hardik Patel detained by Ahmedabad police; released hours later